Golden Child by David Henry Hwang

Golden Child by David Henry Hwang

By Seaver Wong

A recent off-Broadway play revival called Golden Child has been garnering a lot of positive attention. This play is a remake of the 1996 production written by David Henry Hwang. This revival is being directed by Leigh Silverman. It stars Greg Watanabe as Grandson/Eng Tieng Bin, Jennifer Lim as Eng Luan (second wife), Lesley Hu as Eng Eling (third wife), Matthew Maher as Rev. Baines, Annie Q as Eng Ahn (daughter), Tina Chilip in the role of servant, Nadia Gan as a ghost, and finally Julyana Soelistyo as Eng Sio-Yang (first wife). This play began on October 23rd at the beautiful Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street, New York, and has been extended to December 16th.

Golden Child tells the story of a Chinese businessman who, after working abroad for three years, becomes the catalyst for a power struggle in his polygamous Chinese household. This play is inspired by David Henry Hwang’s own family history which explores the often painful process of change coming to people and cultures. The original Golden Child won an Opie Award in 1997 and was nominated a year later for a Tony Award.

The playwright who came up with the idea for Golden Child, David Henry Hwang, is known as the premier Asian American dramatist in the U.S. Born in Los Angeles to a banker and a piano teacher, he was the first of three children and the only son. Hwang went to Yale School of Drama and received a BS in English at Stanford University. his first play was produced at the Okada House dorm in Stanford after briefly studying alongside Sam Shepard and Maria Irene Fornés. He then went on to produce M. Butterfly, which ended up making the transition to film. Following this, he branched out into opera, film, and musical theatre. His most notable works, in addition to M. Butterfly and Golden Child, consist of FOB, The Dance and the Railroad, Family Devotions, a revival of Flower Drum Song, Yellow Face, and Chinglish. He’s currently working on a new play called Kung Fu and a musical version of Aimee Mann’s album The Forgotten Arm. He’s also working on a film version of Chinglish with director Justin Lin, and has plans to create an Asian American TV series. He’s currently happily married to actress Kathryn Liang, with whom they have two children.

The reviews for Golden Child have been positive. The New York Times praised Hwang for continuing the theme of assimilation for Asians entering into the West that has been in so many of his plays. They gave big positives for the quippy dialogue between the three wives. Personally, I find it to be a good thing that this play delves into what Asian Americans have to face when they assimilate into Western culture because it encourages serious discussion, which is always a plus in my book. It makes me want to see Golden Child just for the story alone, which is another positive that people are talking about when it comes to this play. I really think this is something that people need to see because not only does it give insight into Asian American culture and relates to Asian American culture, it’s written by David Henry Hwang, a dramatist who is still on top of his game and isn’t stopping anytime soon. A man who has won many awards for his thought-provoking plays and is considered one of the best, if not the best, in what he does. That alone is worth the price of admission.

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